Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Supporting Your Family’s Health: The Evolving Role of Health Insurers

While I'm a big fan of teaching my kids independence and letting them grow up without being too sheltered, I'll admit that there are plenty of times that I wish that I could keep them safe and sound in a nice little bubble. What mom wouldn't want to protect her kids from bullies, broken hearts, disappointment and more?

One more thing that I would love to be able to do for my children: keep them permanently healthy.

While that is clearly not going to happen (proven by yet another cough or runny nose), I can at least stay as well-informed as possible by learning all that I can about the evolving role of health insurers and how they are working to keep families like mine healthy.

Thanks to a recent session with WellPoint, I am now much more knowledgeable about the services that they offer that go beyond what we traditionally think of receiving from a health insurer... including 24/7 fitness trainers and nurses, programs in the workplace that help you juggle motherhood and a career, and more that help you do it all while still managing your health.

WellPoint logo

As one of the largest health benefits companies in the nation, WellPoint has affiliated health plans in 14 states that fall under the names Anthem BlueCross and BlueShield, Anthem BlueCross in California, Empire BlueCross BlueShield in New York and BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia.

While health insurance is typically thought of within the context of paying the bills, the industry has recognized that families need more than just that. In fact, let's start with keeping the adults as well as the children in our households healthy and out of the doctor's office in the first place!

With that in mind, health care plans are now being tailored to meet your needs with programs, tools and services that work with you to personalize your health care experience and that revolve around your schedule and life.

WellPoint building

WellPoint's affiliated health plans are leading the way in providing a personalized member experience in multiple ways:

24/7 NurseLine: Doesn't it always seem like you need health answers the most when it is after regular hours? What do you do when your child has fallen and lost a tooth? Or, if your child gets a pea stuck up their nose, should you remove it yourself or bring them in? Where do you turn when you find out that another child in your child's classroom has contracted lice?

The 24/7 NurseLine provides accurate info and 1-on-1 counseling with experienced registered nurses any time of the day or night through a toll-free number. This team of knowledgeable and caring nurses is there to help you assess symptoms and help you determine whether you should see the doctor, go to the ER or visit an urgent care center. They are also prepared to answer questions about best practices when it comes to things like immunizations and various public-health issues.

One of the biggest differentiators of the NurseLine program is that members can be directly connected to a nurse. A lot of other programs have an added step in the process; connecting you first to a non-clinical person or even asking you to respond first to pre-taped recordings. But with WellPoint's affiliated health plans, if you select the prompt to speak to a nurse, you speak with one immediately.


Future Moms: Not only does the company help you tackle the day-to-day challenges of being a mom, but it also helps you before you actually take on that role through its Future Moms maternity program. This program gives very personalized support to expectant moms, helping them achieve healthier pregnancies and healthier deliveries – which can lead to having healthier babies.

The program includes risk screening and educational support as well as post-delivery follow-up, which includes screening for depression for those who have face something even more severe than the "Baby Blues." It also helps provide you with the information and tips you need as a new parent to care for your child throughout the first year.

future moms

Personalizing Your Health: Knowing that moms have little time in their day to focus on just themselves, WellPoint and its affiliated health plans have provided a health and wellness portal that you can customize to your needs. The portal lets family members develop a personalized health plan and includes email reminders and prompts for you to do the things you need to do – like scheduling check-ups and working out.

It also contains a live-chat feature as well as access to a health coach for support with health resources, and even services as specific as providing suggestions for quick and healthy recipes. Fitness devices are also available to help measure your steps, activity and even your sleep!

personalized health care

Fitness to Fit Your Lifestyle: Being a mom often times means putting your family's needs before your own, leaving very little time to work on your personal fitness goals. Understanding this, WellPoint and its affiliated health plans have partnered with to offer convenient and affordable ways for you to achieve your personal fitness goals.

FitOrbit is available to anyone who wishes to sign up on the Fitorbit website and the company plans to incorporate FitOrbit into some of its products for employers, as well as offer it at a discounted rate to members in the future.

FitOrbit provides:
  • Unlimited access to a real personal trainer who, unlike trainers at the gym, is available to you around the clock.
  • Customized, family friendly meal plans including recipes and even a grocery list.
  • Detailed, personalized fitness plans that you can do anywhere, anytime. Whether it's doing lunges at the playground while you push your child on the swing or doing squats while folding laundry, your personal trainer can help you find moments during the day when you can easily add an exercise.
As WellPoint's goal is to support our efforts to keep ourselves and our families healthy, they are currently offering a special discount to FitOrbit, so be sure to find out more by clicking here!

convenient wellness

All in all, I'm so impressed with that all that WellPoint is doing to allow families to have the most convenient, customized health care plans as possible. Instead of typical feelings that health insurers are solely utilized for paying the bills, knowing that you have 24/7 access to a nurse, recipes, fitness and more just makes health care suddenly seem not so... impersonal.

The next time you're thinking about what health care, think about this: is the company there for you after you're sick to discuss how much it will cost or are they there full-time to try to prevent illness and keep your whole family fit and healthy in the first place? If it's the former, maybe it's time to visit and see what a difference a personalized health care plan can make in your life!

I was compensated by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and The Motherhood for my participation in this campaign, but, as usual, all thoughts and opinions expressed are honest and my own.